Artist’s Rooms: Sancintya Mohini Simpson

Artist’s Room: Sancintya Mohini Simpson 

This artist’s room showcases three significant works by Sancintya Mohini Simpson, Vessel (iteration #5), Jahajin and Ṭāpū, that reflect on the colonial sugar industries exploitation of indenture labour, and the ongoing legacies of this system.

As a descendant of indentured labourers, taken from South India to South Africa between 1860 to 1911, Sancintya honours her ancestors through offering a nuanced representation of their histories, and broader histories of indentured labour and diaspora communities. Sancintya works with a variety of media, including installation, performance, video, experimental sound, poetry, and painting influenced by South Asia miniature painting. Working with layers of research,
materiality and metaphors she makes connections between history, memory and the displacement of communities across oceans.

She offers a transformative approach to understanding the multifaceted experiences of displacement and intergenerational trauma. Reconciling a need for care against violent colonial histories, her practice has taken a more restorative approach in works such as Vessel (iteration #5), where the complexities of loss and processes of healing can coexist.

About the Artist 

Sancintya Mohini Simpson (b.1991, lives and works in Meanjin/Brisbane) is a descendant of indentured labourers sent from India to work on colonial sugar plantations in South Africa. Her work navigates the complexities of migration, memory and trauma—addressing gaps and silences within the colonial archive. Simpson’s work moves between painting, video, poetry and performance in order to develop narratives and construct rituals that reflect on her maternal lineage. 

Recent exhibitions include Tales of Land and Sea, Bundanon, New South Wales (2024); ām / ammā / mā maram, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (2023); Indigo Waves and Other Stories: Re-Navigating the Afrasian Sea and Notions of Diaspora, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin (2023); TarraWarra Biennial 2023: ua usiusi faʻavaʻasavili, Healesville; Busan Biennale 2022: We, on the Rising Wave, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan; Staple: What’s on your plate?, Hayy Jameel, Jeddah (2021).

Simpson’s poetry has been published in Artist Profile, Correspondence (The Physics Room), Cordite Poetry Review, and Peril magazine. Her work is held in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Jameel, Dubai; KADIST, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; UQ Art Museum, Brisbane; and Museum of Brisbane.